Our brief, but action-packed, sojourn in Madrid!

• Written by emdemh

We may only be there for 28 hours, but our  stay in Madrid  is already packed with action.

Back in May, we were invited to Skype into a collaborative workshop, Laboratorio Democrático, organised and driven by Loomio community member Yago Bermejo Abati, on Networked Democracy: Tools and Technologies for Democratic Participation.

After hearing that we’re coming to Madrid, Yago has extended the warmest hospitality we could imagine, organising a forum to explore governance in the internet age, as well as to put users and developers of internet tools in contact, so as to study the dynamics of democratic web processes at all scales. Its going to be held at Medialab-Prados, a program of the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism of the Madrid City Council. According to their website the space “is conceived as a citizen laboratory for the production, research and dissemination of cultural projects that explore collaborative forms of experimentation and learning that have emerged from digital networks.” We’re excited to check this place out!

On the cards for discussion are how the internet is transforming 21st century democracy and the role of technology in reconnecting citizens to democratic institutions. It will be a great opportunity for Loomio to build connections with like-minded people working towards similar goals, as well as offering Loomio as a tool to help social change movements coordinate more effectively. The line-up for the forum is a dream come true…

The forum will involve people from several Spanish political parties and social movements, all of whom are experimenting with how web tools can transform governance: including Equo, the Pirate Party, Partido de Internet, Indignados and 15M movements.

These parties and social movements embody lots of the characteristics of the “peer progressive” movement described by Stephen Johnson in his recent book Future Perfect. The peer progressive movement treats the internet as a case study for how decentralised collaboration can generate emergent order from a diversity of voices, leading to collective action with massive positive social impact. Johnson explores some of these ideas in this fascinating panel discussion with Yochai Benkler, Susan Crawford and Lawrence Lessig.

The forum will also host people who are building other online tools, such as Agora Voting, an e-voting tool; Kuorum, a tool with the mission to promote transparency and accountability between government and civil society; Incoma, an online debate platform to facilitate conversations in order to grow a global collective intelligence; and Appgree, a tool which allows groups of any size to express themselves and come to quick decisions on-the-go. With the diverse array of people with common goals, the forum looks to be a feast of innovation, collaboration and ideas.

We’ve been staggered by Yago’s generosity in organising this event. We’d love for Loomio to be a catalyst for collaboration between value-aligned projects and look forward to continuing the collaboration with these inspiring people at the Forum.

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